The proposal is one of the most magical moments for married couples. When picking out an engagement ring, you want to wow your potential life partner. So, how do you get this “wow” factor without getting into loads of debt before the actual wedding?¬†Learning how to finance your engagement ring properly is an important first step in wedding planning. This is especially true as 28% of couples in the United States report going into debt for their weddings, which cost an average of $29,200. Here are a few tips on how to finance an engagement ring the smart way.

Cash is king

As always, it’s best to put as much cash as possible toward the engagement ring purchase. Even if this means holding off on the proposal for another year or two in order to save, its worth it. On average, couples in the United States spend about $2,800 on an engagement ring. While this price may seem high to some people now, breaking down the cost of the ring into a monthly budget savings plan will make the expense much more manageable. For instance, you can easily finance the cost of the average engagement ring by saving $116 each month for two years.

Even if you haven’t met “the one,” you can start saving now if you know you’d like to get married in the future.

You can save as little as $77 each month for 3 years and you’ll have $2,800 in funds to put toward the ring. For some individuals, saving for a future engagement ring may be as easy as ditching your monthly cable bill. Of course, it can be much more difficult for some people to save than others. Even if you aren’t making a ton of money now, save what you can. Even setting a savings goal of one half or one-third of the total cost of the ring will save you hundreds of dollars in interest payments.

Other options for financing

Of course, there are other ways to finance an engagement ring besides cash. Generally, your best bet will be to shop around for promotional offers and special rates from jewelry stores. Many jewelry stores will provide promotional offers such as low-interest rates, no interest rates, and discounts for financing. However, buyer beware. You should always read the fine print and look for any hidden fees or charges.¬†If you choose to finance your engagement ring with a jewelry store, ask yourself the following questions: Can I pay off the ring in this time frame? Is there a 0% APR introductory rate? When will the promotional interest rate expire? How competitive is the interest rate compared to my credit card? Will I be charged any deferred interest if I make a late payment or do not pay off the ring in time? All of these questions will help you decide which jewelry store financing option is right for you. Always seek the lowest interest rate possible and make sure you’ll be able to pay the ring off in the contractual time frame.

Next, you can finance an engagement ring with a credit card. Whether this is a money-smart move or not will depend on your credit score. Usually, your credit score will determine APR and your credit limit. If you know you would like to get married in the near future, it’s time to work on that score! Improving your credit score will give you the chance to competitively ask your credit issuer for a lower interest rate. If you are planning on getting married and have the credit stability to apply for a new card, consider applying for a credit card with an introductory APR of 0% for 12 months or more. Try to pay it off as quickly as possible to avoid any interest applied after the introductory period is over. Remember, this should only be an option for someone with really great credit that can afford a new card. If you have high balances on multiple cards, don’t apply for another card just for the engagement ring.